WQED mini docs: Musical Mentors
Two award-winning mini documentaries from the WQED archives are compiled into this half-hour program. Madame Dawson’s Opera Company tells the story of Mary Cardwell Dawson who formed the National Negro Opera Company in 1941, opening doors and launching careers for African-Americans who had little access to classical music training. The feature also highlights efforts to restore the grand Victorian-style house in Pittsburgh where the opera company was founded. Prattis & The Piano recounts the career of Pittsburgh Symphony principal keyboardist Patricia Prattis Jennings, who in 1966 became the first African American woman to be awarded a full contract by a major American symphony orchestra, breaking decades of discrimination in the world of classical music.
WQED mini docs: Musical Mentors aired on Feb 18, 2016.
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Educators, politicians and activists discuss the issues that shape the community.
Original airdate: Jun 07, 2018
Tattoos can transform – but in a way that goes far beyond body art. Explore the lives of people who use tattoos for mental health and medical reasons. The compelling documentary introduces self-harm and suicide survivors who use ink to cover their scars, a breast cancer patient who got tattoos to make reconstruction look more realistic and a veteran hoping to hide the wounds of war.
Original airdate: Mar 29, 2018
Groundbreaking, influential, transformative. From its beginnings in 1907, the Pittsburgh Courier has been a leader among the nation’s African American newspapers – sparking historic change on issues ranging from education, housing and employment to discrimination in the military. With rare archival images and compelling interviews, this documentary explores the Courier’s impact on civil rights, social justice, culture and sports. The paper also provided historians with an invaluable chronicle of everyday life in the black community.
Original airdate: Feb 22, 2018
It started with a shipwreck in 1850. Two Irish sweethearts are headed to the New World when calamity strikes. The chaos of the shipwreck separated the couple. But many years later, WQED picks up the story in Pittsburgh where their implausible reunion is a love story for the ages. It’s just one of a collection of poignant, romantic and life-affirming stories set in Western Pennsylvania – all with an engaging musical thread.
Original airdate: Feb 08, 2018
From education to employment, health care to housing, transgender Americans fight daily for their right to exist. How is Pittsburgh responding? This documentary spotlights some of the concerned organizations working on behalf of the region’s transgender population – and also profiles transgender men and women as they define their own authentic lives while navigating an evolving city.
Original airdate: Jan 25, 2018
For many Western Pennsylvanians, a day of cookie baking is as celebratory as the holidays. Families gather in kitchens throughout the region to mix dough, whip frostings and scatter sprinkles. It’s a time to embrace ethnic traditions and remember loved ones who handed down now creased and crumbling recipes. This holiday documentary features a pizzelle-making church group, gingerbread house artists, one of the area’s busiest cookie bakeries, a woman who donates her cookies as a goodwill gesture, and Pittsburgh’s popular cookie tour.
Original airdate: Dec 21, 2017